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Optimize Skype for Business user experience over Wi-Fi

Admin Guide.

Overview:
This document focuses on how to design or configure your W-Fi network to
provide optimal experience to Skype for Business users who uses Wi-Fi network
for Skype for Business audio / Video calls .

Below are the topics are discussed in this document:

Sr. No. Topics

1 Description
2 Difference between other application and Skype for Business
3 Best practices for Wi-Fi infrastructure
4 Best practices for client who use Wi-Fi Network
5 Validate your Network and Testing

Author: Balu Ilag Microsoft MVP (Office Servers and Services)


© 03.31.2017, Balu Ilag, System Administrator, Microsoft MVP Office Servers
and Services. Version 1.0
Contact me at: balasaheb.ilag@hotmail.com
Blog: http://communicationsknowledge.blogspot.com/ . This document covers Wi-fi network
design best practices for enhancing Skype for Business user experience. Target audience for this admin guide are
Skype for Business / Lync Administrator, Skype for Business Online (Office365) Administrator and network
Administrator who manages environment.
How to optimize Skype for Business user experience over Wi-Fi?

We are talking about wireless world, from Computer / workstation to Mobile first
world. Our connectivity priority also changed from tradition wired connection to
wireless (Wi-Fi) connectivity.
Microsoft Skype for Business (Lync) officially supported over Wi-Fi network for
optimal experience. However, your existing Wi-Fi network may not provide
optimal experience to your Skype for Business user. Because may be initially your
Wi-Fi network was designed for DATA traffic and If we are trying to use same Wi-
Fi network for Real-Time Media traffic which is generated by Skype for Business
client in terms of Audio/Video calls, Conference, IM, application Sharing etc. So
we have to redesign/deploy or re-configure your existing Wi-Fi network to
support Real-Time Media traffic.
Let’s discuss about devices which are actually using Wi-Fi network. Separate these
devices in to two categories, Managed and Unmanaged devices.
Manage devices: Laptop, desktop, Surface, Mobile Phone (iOS and Android) etc.
are having some kind controls.
Unmanaged devices (Bring Your Own Device): above all devices counts under this
category however without control.
When, I say managed devices which we can control, there we can do something
like tagging all Real-Time Media Traffic using GPO, QoS (Quality of Service), WMM
(Wi-Fi Multi-Media) etc. however what about unmanaged devices?
There we have no control on BYOD devices. There is no by default tagging on
Wireless, no QoS/WMM.
But same time we should provide better quality to these users who brings BYOD
devices. To control on these devices and provide optimal experience to users who
are waking in campus while connected to conference call and switching from one
AP (Access Point) to another APs. User expect same call quality when they
connected from any devices with any networks.
Why my Wi-Fi working for fine with other application but not with Skype for
Business (Lync)?
Basically, there is fundamental difference in term of traffic generated by other
application and Skype for Business (Lync).
 Other application does streaming and play vs Skype for Business needs
Real-Time Media traffic, no streaming.
 Video playback applications like YouTube, Netflix, etc. can utilize large
receive side buffers in order level out network delays.
 Real-Time media is interactive and requires a high-performance network
that can sustain continuous up/down stream traffic, with low-latency, low
jitter with no packet loss.
 Our goal is to maintain Round trip time delay 100-200ms, Jitter <10 ms and
packet loss under 2% between client.
Enough talking, lets discuss what we can to enhance users experience.
Note: below images and configuration path using Aruba AP/Controller.
Best practices for Wi-Fi infrastructure:
 Use enterprise Wi-Fi controller with thin enterprise grade Access Points
or standalone APs. Use enterprise grayed APs with provider support and
SLA. There are many Wireless provider who already approved by
Microsoft. Like Juniper, Aruba, Cisco, Meru, Extreme Network, HP,
Motorola, Ruckus and Dell etc.
 Wi-Fi works better with SDN API Interface: Skype for Business SDN
Interface allows developers to build applications and services that can
monitor, isolate and correct issues on the network that affect Skype for
Business quality of experience. Refer my article (Skype for Business SDN
API Configuration Guide).
 How does SDN Interface work? and helps to improve quality?
 Skype for Business SDN (API) Interface can be installed on a Skype for
Business /Lync Server 2013 (Dialog Listener) and SDN Manger on
separate server. Skype for Business SDN API provides an interface
through which the Wireless controller can access Skype for Business
network diagnostic information for media traffic i.e. voice and video
calls, desktop sharing, and file transfer. The Wireless controller uses
this data to prioritize Skype for Business traffic and provide
information on the usage of Skype for Business applications on the
network. The Skype for Business server communicates with the
controller through XML messages over HTTP or HTTPS.
 Design for capacity based on number of clients in coverage area. For
regular office space, conference rooms, common areas, do your math
and place AP accordingly, including hallways and passage. Place more AP
around big conference rooms to support extra load.
 Plan for overlapping AP coverage for redundancy is required. Keep in
mind, high ceilings and long corridor spaces can cause Wi-Fi signals to
spread resulting in poor WLAN efficiency. Remediate high ceiling using
mount.
 Sufficient AP density for seamless coverage. Deploy applicable AP
density for required coverage and capacity but keep signal level (RSSI -
Received Signal Strength Indicator) between -45dBm to -65dBM and
SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) better then 30dB (40db preferred).
 Deploy 802.11n/ac standard APs. 802.11ac is better for good quality
because 802.11ac is a high speed and performance next-generation Wi-
Fi that is rolled out in a wide variety of client devices.
802.11ac is ideal for the high bandwidth requirements of clients running
unified communications. In our case Skype for Business (Lync).
 Implement QoS (Quality of Service) /WMM (Wireless Multi-Media)
Configure QoS settings (DSCP (Differentiated Services Code Point) -
WMM mapping on the SSID profile) to match QoS settings on the wired
network and any upstream QoS settings on the client. This ensures that
the same DSCP values are used throughout the wireless and wired
network for Skype for Business voice/video traffic. E.g. If you set DSCP
value for Audio 46 and Video 34 on wired network, then use the same
values for DSCP mapping for WMM.
Refer below Image:
 If you have not implement QoS, then you must have enable QoS on
Skype for Business Servers and clients, use below command to enable
QoS on Server. Set-CsMediaConfiguration -EnableQoS $True
Also, ensure that the same QoS tagging is configured and validated
across all wired network switches, router, WAN circuit and AP and
Wireless controller to maintain end-to-end Quality of service.

 Impalement WPA2 encryption which is in Enterprise Mode.

 Deploy APs featuring dual (concurrent) 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz operation
with 3x3 configuration and 1 Gbps backhaul. Now days Access Point
comes with 3x3 configuration.
 Support for RF (Radio Frequency) auto radio management of channel
and signal strength. Auto management for power management, channel
allocation this system should deal with itself when you configured with
Auto Radio Management.
 Fast BBS transition support for 802.11r Standard. This is for mobility and
key caching. Most of above Wireless provider support for 802.11r
standard. Fast BSS Transition mechanism minimizes the delay when a
voice client transitions from one BSS to another within the same ESS.
Fast BSS Transition establishes security and QoS states at the target AP
before or during a re-association. This minimizes the time required to
resume data connectivity when a BSS transition happens.
 Enable AP load balancing. This again very important because if you have
big room where most of users trying connect to steer user in to different
APs. Client connection balanced by Controller.
 Try to minimize 2.4 GHz band:
 Try to drop 11b support.
 Limit 11n support to 20 MHz channels.
 Use 5 GHz band:
 Enable band steering of dual band capable devices to 5 Ghz
 40 MHz channel.
 You make sure the marking is there for all domain join
machines/devices/Servers put GPO to mark the Skype for Business
traffic with port ranges and DSCP values. QoS is combination of network
technologies, your network device should trust traffic and honor DSCP
vales. You can refer my Deploy QoS for SfB.
For Android and iOS devices will get tagged via wireless controllers.
Remember, I suggested to use enterprise Wi-Fi controller.
 Ensure proper QoS on wired network, refer how to Deploy QoS for SfB.
Configure QoS trust on all voice ports to honor the QoS markings.
 Ability to classify and prioritize Lync traffic (SIP-TLS) in the presence of
lower priority data traffic.
 Enable power saving mechanisms.
Best practices for client who use Wi-Fi Network:
Client is also infrastructure tool which is more vulnerable and potentially
contribute to poor quality. So, we must reconfigure/ reinstall client
software to optimize user experience.
 You must use enterprise class notebooks in order to achieve call quality.
 High-quality dual band NIC with at least 2x2:2 configuration. E.g. Dell,
HP, Microsoft etc.
 Support for Radio resource management 802.11k.
 Real Time Media optimized/certified wireless NIC and drivers. If you see
poor call quality, then first thing you do is to verify headset and update
your wireless NIC drivers.
 Manage NIC driver versions
 Mobile devices supporting dual band is better for call quality.
 BYOD devices is a reality so be prepared for un-managed devices.
 Use Microsoft certified headset, sometime Bluetooth headset also
contribute to poor quality.
Validate your Network and Testing:
Testing and validation is another important step. Without testing and
validation how you know, your wireless controller is correcting un tagged
traffic. So, test properly.
Testing scenarios:
 Make Audio Video call Skype for Business app iOS device to another iOS
or Skype for Business app on Android device user and check DSCP value
correction is there. Like below image.
 Make call from Skype for Business app iOS user to Skype for Business
Windows user and validate DSCP tagging’s.
 Check network statistic and utilization.
 Check Skype for Business call quality results per location wise, by traffic
class (voice, video, application sharing)
Auditing configuration:
Your job is not after setting up your Wireless network, QoS, traffic
prioritization etc.
 You must monitor and visit your network devices frequently.
 Audit network device, wireless controller and QoS configuration
quarterly to minimize human errors.
Reference: Aruba and
Thank you.